Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used in surgeries as an anesthetic and prescribed for pain relief afterwards. It is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and up to 50 times more potent than heroin. It is highly addictive and dangerous. Acryl fentanyl is a designer drug with no medical benefits, unlike fentanyl.
What Are Common Street Names?
China Girl, China Town, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, King Ivory, Murder 8, and Tango & Cash.
What Does Fentanyl Look Like?
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is available as an oral lozenge (often referred to as a fentanyl lollipop), a tablet, a nasal spray, an injection, and a transdermal patch.
How Is It Used?
Fentanyl can be taken orally, injected, smoked, and snorted.
What Are the Short-Term Effects of Fentanyl?
Fentanyl induces euphoria, relieves pain, and relaxes users. It also has multiple undesirable short-term effects, causing nausea, vertigo, disorientation, difficulty urinating, and respiratory depression.
Why Is Fentanyl Harmful?
Fentanyl is one of the most powerful and high-risk opioids on the market. Though it is often used in medical settings to treat patients during and after surgery, fentanyl is frequently misused. It was responsible for 700 overdose deaths in 2014, most likely because it is difficult to determine what dosage will cause a fatal impact. Individuals also often take fentanyl and heroin together, intentionally or otherwise, increasing their risk of overdose. Fentanyl’s ability to absorb into the skin poses additional danger to law enforcement officers when the drug becomes airborne.
Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl Abuse
Repeated fentanyl misuse can lead to drug addiction and health problems, including:
Recognizing Fentanyl Addiction
Habitual fentanyl abuse impacts the brain and can cause addiction. This chronic disease is recognizable by observing the following symptoms:
- Trouble concentrating
- Tiny pupils
- Weight loss
- Slurred speech
- Swollen hands and feet
What Does a Fentanyl Overdose Look Like?
When an individual takes a toxic amount of fentanyl or combines it with other drugs or alcohol, they can experience an overdose. Because drugs affect everyone differently, it is impossible to determine what dosage or combination has this effect.
Signs of Overdose
- Extreme fatigue
- Severe confusion
- Difficulty swallowing
- Cardiac arrest
- Respiratory arrest
- Dizziness and fainting
Due to the increasing number of fentanyl-related overdoses, many individuals are beginning to carry naloxone, a medicine designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, due to the potency of fentanyl, naloxone is not always successful at reviving those who have overdosed on the drug.
Because opioid overdoses are particularly dangerous, individuals who overdose on them require immediate medical attention, even if they have been revived with naloxone.
How Do You Treat Fentanyl Addiction?
Detox is a critical first step in recovering from fentanyl addiction because it allows the body to eliminate any toxic substances. Due to the extreme cravings that may occur, it is vital that individuals struggling with fentanyl addiction detox under the supervision of a health professional. In some cases, doctors may prescribe addiction fighting medication to help the individual taper off fentanyl, as well as medicines to help manage withdrawal symptoms that arise.
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle pain
- High blood pressure
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment
While detox rids the body of hazardous chemicals, it does not completely treat the other aspects of fentanyl addiction. Because of this, it is important that once the body has been stabilized, individuals follow a comprehensive treatment plan that includes drug counseling, which addresses the psychological impact of the disease. Treatments available for fentanyl addiction include inpatient/residential and outpatient.
Like all opioids, fentanyl is extremely addictive, making abstaining from use particularly challenging. Holistic therapies have proven effective at reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Incorporating them into traditional treatment can reduce an individual's risk of relapsing.
There are several holistic therapies that target the needs of those recovering from fentanyl addiction. Individuals who used fentanyl to alleviate pain can experience similar relief through Acupuncture. Those who relied on the opioid for its euphoric effects can find a natural, intense rush through Ropes Courses. Users who sought an outlet to deal with emotional pain may value Spiritual Enhancement, which encourages connection to a higher power and a sense of purpose, putting concerns into perspective.
High and low ropes challenge courses help develop teamwork and communication skills, deepen self-reflection as well as provide fun in sobriety
Reflection workshop to encourage peace of mind and spiritual development through readings and discussion of non-religious parables.
To learn about other therapeutic activities that enrich the mind, body, and spirit, consult our Wellness page.
Mediation-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with fentanyl can be particularly strong. For many, these painful side-effects can distract from treatment or become so overwhelming that they lead to a relapse. Supplementing traditional therapies with MAT can help.
Addiction medications used in MAT are scientifically proven to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, enabling individuals to focus on their recovery. By managing the body's physical dependence, addiction medications provide individuals the mental clarity they need to address the root of their addiction and gain the necessary tools to achieve sobriety.
Addiction Medications for Fentanyl Addiction
Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone)
Highly effective prescription medication used in the treatment of opioid addiction. Available as a film strip that dissolves under the tongue, this addiction medicine needs to be taken daily under medical supervision.
Sublocade (buprenorphine extended-release)
Extended-release formulation of buprenorphine used to treat opioid addiction. Available as a monthly injection, administered by a certified healthcare professional.
Vivitrol (naltrexone extended-release)
Extended-release formulation of naltrexone used to treat alcoholism and opioid addiction. Available as a monthly injection, administered by a certified healthcare professional.
To learn more about addiction medications, visit our Medication-Assisted Treatment page.
If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction, know that you are not alone. Our team of medical, clinical, and wellness experts are here to help you break free from addiction and achieve the happy, healthy life you deserve.